Paper Authors and Title

Laura Kestell (Technological University Dublin), Foteini Pavli, John Kearney, “Assessment of the Carbon Dioxide Emissions Associated with Food Miles on Fruits and Vegetables Found in the Maltese Market”


Background/ Objectives

This study aimed to estimate the food miles of imported fruits and vegetables in Malta, identify the volumes of locally grown fruit and vegetables, and research the impact of food miles and transportation/storage on the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.


This study used two datasets provided by the National Statistics Office in Malta: Imported Fruit and Vegetables, 2021, and Estimated Local Production in Malta, 2021. Three equations calculated the food miles and environmental impact: the Weighted Average Source Distance (WASD), Food Miles, and Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) emissions. A Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test was conducted to compare the medians of the CO₂ emissions from importation by aircraft and by boat.


Locally grown vegetables had higher volumes, while imported fruit had higher volumes than vegetables. Malta imports from several different countries with some produce imported from multiple countries. A Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test indicated the median for CO₂ emissions when planes are used as a method of transportation was statistically higher than the median for CO₂ emissions when boats are used. Z = 74.398, p <0.001.


This study found Malta imports from several countries, and choosing to import from countries nearest to Malta would reduce the food miles and carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, this study suggests that importing by boat is more sustainable than planes due to lower CO₂ emissions emitted. Further research is required to determine the impact of transportation and storage on the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables, as current studies lack solid conclusions.


Download and view Laura Kestell’s poster.